Answered By: Reference Desk
Last Updated: Feb 18, 2015     Views: 44

A good place to start is our database 'Biography in Context.' This database allows you to search for over 500,000 individuals and gives you information on more than 600,000 biographies. Here is a screen shot of what the database looks like:

Biography in Context allows you to search for individuals by name, occupation, nationality, and time of birth or death. These many options allow you to search for individuals even if you do not know his or her name which can be helpful if you are looking for a personal aspect of an issue.

Another thing to remember is that Hutchins Library organizes our collection according to the Dewey system. This means that all biographies of individuals are catagorized according to the topic they were involved in. Example: A biography of a chemist will be found in the 540s with the books on chemistry. Biographies on theologians would be found in the 260s which is the section devoted to theology.

If you are looking for books, you can always search in BANC, Hutchins Library's online book catalogue. If you are searching for an author, always put the family name last. Barack Obama would be searched by typing Obama, Barack. If you are looking for a biography, however, type the name normally - Barack Obama. That indicates the the person's name is the subject of the book, not the author.

If you are still having difficulty finding sources and materials, please come to the Reference Desk. Students and faculty are always ready to help.